ArticlePDF Available

Costs and Causes of Zimbabwe's Crisis

Abstract

Summary Zimbabwe has experienced a precipitous collapse in its economy over the past five years. The purchasing power of the average Zimbabwean in 2005 has fallen back to the same level as in 1953. For people in extreme poverty, a collapse like this translates directly into sickness and death. We conservatively estimate that persistence in the economic shock will cost the lives of at least 3,900 Zimbabwean children per year—about half the infant death toll from HIV/AIDS. The government blames its economic problems on external forces and drought. We assess these claims, but find that the economic crisis has cost the government far more in key budget resources than has the donor pullout. We show that low rainfall cannot account for the shock either. This leaves economic misrule as the only plausible cause of Zimbabwe's economic regression, the decline in welfare, and unnecessary deaths of its children. Zimbabwe's recent economic crisis is so deep that it has set the country back more than half a century.
Figure 1: Wiping out 52 years of income growth
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
1400
1600
1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010
GDP per capita at PPP (Maddison, 1990 US$)
Actual GDP per capita at PPP
Estimate using EIU growth, base 2001
Sources: Maddison (2003), EIU, UN
Introduction
Economic growth is not sufficient for development, but
it is necessary. Most obviously, in countries where
average incomes are very low and poverty rates are
high, income growth is needed to boost consumption
and reduce poverty. At the same time there is an
increasing understanding that growth is also needed to
accelerate improvements in health, education, and the
quality of life. This is because an expanding economy
provides the resources, opportunities, and incentives for
improving other indicators of welfare, such as schooling
Costs and Causes of Zimbabwe’s Crisis
By Michael Clemens and Todd Moss*
July 2005
and health. Lant Pritchett and Lawrence Summers, for
example, found that after controlling for many factors,
increases in average income cause declines in national
infant mortality rates—that “wealthier is healthier.”1
If we know growth is beneficial and can have
measurable positive effects for a range of development
outcomes, then what about the flip-side: What is the
cost of not growing or even contracting? To answer
this, we look at Zimbabwe, a recent case of rapid
economic collapse. The costs of stagnation or an
economic contraction are especially relevant for
policymakers because of the current state of our
understanding of the sources of growth and the
development process. It is certainly useful to know that
higher incomes are better, but it is still not very clear to
policymakers and economists how to generate greater
economic growth.2 It may be even more important to
know the cost of stagnation or collapse because we do
have a pretty good idea of what can destroy an
economy. In other words, we may not know exactly
what countries need to do to grow, but we do know lots
of things they should not do. Unfortunately, Zimbabwe
illustrates this all too starkly.
Estimating the Costs
Zimbabwe, once a vibrant and diversified economy,
had been a hope for Africa’s future. Today, it is a
country in deep crisis and the signs of collapse are
everywhere. The economy has contracted in real terms
in each of the past five years, inflation is in triple digits,
the local currency has lost 99% of its value, and almost
half of the country faces food shortages. Unsurprisingly,
up to one-quarter of the population has fled the country.
Many of the ‘costs’ of the recent economic collapse in
humanitarian terms are evident. We assess here, first,
the relative impact on incomes for the average
Zimbabwean citizen. Second, we also estimate the
additional hidden costs in lost lives from the crisis due to
medium-term income effects.
How has the crisis affected incomes?
As shown in Figure 1, Zimbabwe’s recent economic
crisis is so deep that it has set the country back more
than half a century. In 1953 the average person living
Summary
Zimbabwe has experienced a precipitous collapse in its
economy over the past five years. The purchasing power
of the average Zimbabwean in 2005 has fallen back to
the same level as in 1953. For people in extreme
poverty, a collapse like this translates directly into sickness
and death. We conservatively estimate that persistence in
the economic shock will cost the lives of at least 3,900
Zimbabwean children per year—about half the infant
death toll from HIV/AIDS. The government blames its
economic problems on external forces and drought. We
assess these claims, but find that the economic crisis has
cost the government far more in key budget resources
than has the donor pullout. We show that low rainfall
cannot account for the shock either. This leaves economic
misrule as the only plausible cause of Zimbabwe’s
economic regression, the decline in welfare, and
unnecessary deaths of its children.
Zimbabwe’s
recent economic
crisis is so deep
that it has set the
country back
more than half a
century.
* Michael Clemens and Todd Moss are Research Fellows at the Center for Global Development.
in then-Southern Rhodesia had an average income of
$760 per year (in constant 1990 US$ at purchasing
power parity rates). In mid-2005 the average
Zimbabwean had fallen back to that level, wiping out
the income gains over the past 52 years.3 The scale
and speed of this income decline is unusual outside of
a war situation. In fact, the income losses in Zimbabwe
have been greater than those experienced during
recent conflicts in Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic
of Congo, and Sierra Leone.
How many additional children will die as a result of
the crisis?
There are many ways in which economic crisis can
directly cause deaths, including starvation, lack of
access to previously available medicines, or
economically motivated violence. But beyond these
direct and overt channels, there are also strong
relationships between income levels and health
indicators that suggest losses of income systematically
create additional deaths that would not occur in higher
income environments. In other words, the economic
crisis itself kills people.
Income levels and changes affect a wide range of
quality of life variables. Here, as an illustration, we
estimate only the impact on infant deaths. The elasticity
of infant mortality to income per capita has been
estimated by several studies.4 The most conservative
estimate of this relationship in the literature—that of
Pritchett and Summers, which isolates the percent
change in infant mortality caused by a percent change
in real national income—is equal to –0.28.5 This effect
is realized within five years of the change in income. In
the above figure, real GDP per capita declined in
Zimbabwe by 46.2% between 1998 and 2005.
In a typical country, this conservative elasticity estimate
means that this drop would produce a 12.9% increase
in the infant mortality rate within five years. This
estimate is uncertain; there is a 90% chance that it lies
between 3% and 23%.6 The most recent estimate
available of infant mortality in the middle of this drop is
the World Bank’s 2003 figure of an infant mortality
rate of 78 per 1,000 births.7 This suggests that the
collapse, if not reversed within five years, will lead to
an increase of 10 in the infant mortality rate. Taking
this figure combined with the UN forecast of 383,000
births8 in Zimbabwe in 2010, suggests that persistence
in the crisis could cause at least 3,900 infant deaths
per year.9
How does this scale compare with HIV/AIDS?
In 1990, largely before the HIV/AIDS epidemic
began to produce disastrous rises in mortality
throughout the region, the infant mortality rate in
Zimbabwe was 53. By 2001 — by which time the
HIV prevalence in Zimbabwe had grown to among the
highest in the world at 25% of the adult population10
the infant mortality rate had risen to 73. If we
conservatively assume that this rise of 20 in infant
mortality is due entirely to the pandemic, this suggests
that the impact of the economic crisis on child health in
Zimbabwe has the potential, within five years, to be at
least half as bad again as that of the AIDS epidemic.
…persistence in
the crisis could
cause at least
3,900 infant
deaths per year.
Uncovering the Causes
If the recent economic crisis in Zimbabwe has set the
country back half a century in income growth and will
kill thousands of children per year, the obvious
questions are ‘how did this happen?’ and ‘who is
responsible?’ The government’s official position has
been that any economic difficulties are the result of a
drought and/or economic sabotage by any number of
the country’s enemies. We assess both of these claims
before turning to other possible answers.
Are outsiders to blame?
The government’s frequent claims of external plots to
destabilize Zimbabwe encompass a long and
increasingly irrational list of saboteurs, such the
International Monetary Fund, the British government,
and an international gay conspiracy. In occasional
bouts of official schizophrenia, the government
sometimes combines these threats, such as President
Robert Mugabe’s public rant against Tony Blair as the
“the gay government of the gay United gay
Kingdom.”11 Another recent example is the claim in the
Herald, a government mouthpiece, that the US, at the
behest of the UK, is now controlling the weather in
order to cause a drought in Zimbabwe.12 While these
outbursts suggest either cynical propaganda or
growing paranoia among the leadership, they are
simply not credible explanations of the crisis.
. . . the income
losses in
Zimbabwe have
been greater
than those
experienced
during recent
conflicts in Côte
d’Ivoire,
Democratic
Republic of
Congo, and
Sierra Leone.
A less hysterical version of external blame could be
related to the cutoff of international aid. Certainly,
donors have withdrawn hundreds of millions of dollars
in aid from Zimbabwe and the government could
plausibly argue that this precipitated the crisis and
contributed to any additional infant deaths. Setting
aside the reasons for donor withdrawal for a moment,
it thus seems fair to examine the scale of lost revenue in
terms of aid from donors compared to lost revenue
owing to lower tax revenue because of the crisis.
Figure 2: Lost resources
316
60
162
17
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
Government spending on
health and child welfare International health sector aid
Million US$, annual
Without crisis
With crisis
US$154 million domestic
health spending lost
US$43 million
health aid lost
Such an exercise is not difficult. We can compare the
decline in aid money for health to the volume of
domestic resources for health lost from the crisis.
Suppose we take 1994 as the base year for aid—a
local peak following which aid flows declined every
year to the present. The OECD data show that foreign
aid to Zimbabwe’s health sector declined by $43
million between 1994 and 2003.13 We then can
ask how much more domestic money for health the
government would have if economic production had
not collapsed. (Health spending as a fraction of GDP
has been relatively constant over time, about 2.5%–
2.8%.) We find that domestic resources for health
would be almost twice as large—an increase of
US$154 million per year—if GDP had not
collapsed.14 This suggests (Figure 2) that the loss of
resources to the government from economic decline is
vastly larger than resources withdrawn by donors.
Indeed, the economic crisis has cost more than three
times as much money for health as the donor
withdrawal.
What about the drought?
An alternative explanation, and a favorite of President
Mugabe (as well as some relief organizations and
even visiting IMF missions),15 is that severe drought is
primarily responsible for the collapse in output in
Zimbabwe. On the face of it, this seems possible,
especially since so much of Zimbabwe’s economy is
based on rain-fed agriculture and the country faces a
regular cycle of rainfall variability.
Economist Craig Richardson, using rainfall data from
Zimbabwe’s own Department of Meteorology, has
shown that this argument does not hold up to the
evidence. He shows that the ‘drought’ of 2000/01
was only about 22% below average, and less severe
than at least twelve other recent low rainfall periods.
More importantly, Richardson shows that the tight
historical relationship between GDP growth rates and
rainfall cycles over two decades no longer held after
1999.16 Indeed, when rainfall recovered, the
economy continued to decline.
Figure 3: Rainfall in key maize regions
0
200
400
600
800
1,000
1,200
1,400
1,600
1945 1955 1965 1975 1985 1995 2005
Year
Annual rainfall, mm
Malawi
Zambia
Zimbabwe
Source: World Bank (2003) See fn 17 for detail on data.
To his analysis of previous droughts, we add more
evidence by comparing Zimbabwe to its neighbors.
Data suggest that rainfall patterns are regional; since
1948, there has never been a two-year period in
which an important drop in rainfall in Zimbabwe’s
maize-producing regions was not associated with a
corresponding drop in Zambia and Malawi as well
(Figure 3).17 Despite this pattern, Zimbabwe’s decline
in maize production has been dramatically greater
than its neighbors over the past 5 years (Figure 4).
National maize production fell 74% from 1999 to
2004, while in Malawi it fell just 31% and in Zambia
it actually increased.18 Thus, it appears that
Zimbabwe’s unlucky weather does not sufficiently
account for its economic collapse.
…Zimbabwe’s
unlucky weather
does not
sufficiently
account for its
economic
collapse
Figure 4: Maize production, 1999-2004
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Year
Maize production; Tons in 1999 = 100
Malawi
Zimbabwe
Zambia
Source: USDA
Conclusion: Misrule kills
If neither the drought, donor withdrawal, nor nefarious
economic plots explain the depth and persistence of
the crisis, this leaves few other plausible culprits than
misrule. In many ways it seems obvious that
Zimbabwe’s current economic difficulties are linked to
specific government policy decisions. Harvard’s
Samantha Power even used Zimbabwe as an example
of ‘how to kill a country”, suggesting ten ways in which
Mugabe destroyed his country’s economy.19
The list of misgovernance is long. The policy of land
seizures and the chaotic disruption on the farms is likely
the main reason the staple maize production fell by
three-quarters. This impacted rural incomes, exports,
and food security. Indeed, Zimbabwe once exported
food, but now requires massive food aid. In addition to
the frontal attacks on agriculture, the rest of the
economy suffered from the undermining of property
rights and absurd macroeconomic management. The
government has run huge budget deficits (22% of GDP
in 2000!) and printed money to cover the gaps—with
the predictable results of high inflation (which hit 620%
in November 2003). Overall, manufacturing has
shrunk by 51% since 1997 and exports have fallen by
half in the past four years.20 Political troubles combined
with the abandonment of sensible economic policy
also closed off most of the aid tap, scared away most
foreign investment, and chased much of the talented
workforce out of the country.
While many of these actions appear economically
irrational, they may be explained in a perverse political
logic. It can hardly be a coincidence that the economy
began its precipitous fall just as the ruling party
unleashed a wave of political violence and repression
directed against a rising opposition movement. Most
noticeably, the forcible appropriation of commercial
farms seems calculated to undermine the financial and
popular support for the opposition.21
Unfortunately, the mismanagement and economic
lunacy continues today. Inflation remains in triple-digits,
the 2005 budget includes a more than tripling in
public expenditure, and the government clings to
propaganda, such as its implausible forecast of 28%
growth in agriculture this year. This suggests that—
regardless of rainclouds or imaginary foreign
scheming—economic misrule will continue to cost
Zimbabweans not only their children’s opportunities for
a better life but, for many, any life at all.
Notes
1 L. Pritchett and L. Summers (1996), “Wealthier is Healthier,” Jnl of
Human Resources 31 (4): 841-868.
2 C. Kenny and D. Williams (2001), “What Do We Know About
Economic Growth? Or, Why Don’t We Know Very Much?” World
Development, 29 (1): 1-22.
3 For 1950-2001, A. Maddison (2003) The World Economy: Historical
Statistics (Paris: OECD). For 1995-2005, we construct estimates based on
Zimbabwe Country Reports from the EIU (various dates) and the UN’s
World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision.
4 Among the best known are Pritchett and Summers (1996); D. Filmer and
L. Pritchett (1999), “The impact of public spending on health: does money
matter?” Social Science and Medicine 49: 1309-1323; L. Wang
(2003), “Determinants of child mortality in LDCs,” Health Policy 65: 277-
299.
5 Pritchett and Summers (1996), Table 4, Col. 6, p. 855.
6 Pritchett and Summers (1996), ibid. The standard error on their estimate,
–0.13, implies that with 90% certainty the coefficient is between –0.064
and –0.496.
In many ways it
seems obvious
that Zimbabwe’s
current economic
difficulties are
linked to specific
government
policy decisions.
7 World Bank (2005), World Development Indicators Online. The infant
mortality rate is the number of children that die within one year of birth,
per thousand live births.
8 UN’s World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision.
9 With 90% confidence, the increase in infant mortality lies between 2.3
and 17.9, giving an estimate of additional deaths between 880 and
6,800.
10 UNAIDS estimates the adult (15-49) HIV rate (%) at end 2001 as
24.9%. At end 2003 it was 24.6%. UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS
Epidemic 2004.
11 “Britain’s troubles with Mugabe,” BBC Online, April 3 2000; Mugabe
interview with Sky News, May 24, 2004.
12 “UK, US ‘caused Zimbabwe droughts,” BBC Online, June 28, 2005.
13 In 1994 Zimbabwe received US$560 million from donors, of which
about US$60 million was for health. In 2003, the latest year available for
which data are available, Zimbabwe received just US$186 million in
2003 (OECD’s Development Assistance Committee database). US$17
million in aid was allocated for health.
14 Total government spending both pre-crisis and post-crisis has been
about one-third of GDP (according to the EIU’s Country Reports for
Zimbabwe, average government expenditure as a fraction of GDP, 1996-
1998: 32.2%; average 2002-2004: 33.2%). The government budget for
2004 allocated 10.8% of its spending to “health and child welfare”,
while total government spending was 34.4% of GDP. This suggests that in
2004 public expenditures for health and child welfare represented 3.7%
of GDP, roughly equivalent to US$167 million in total or US$13 per
citizen. Thus the cost of the economic crisis on health and child welfare
spending has been about US$154 million per year. (1997 GDP was
US$8.5 billion but dropped to US$4.5 billion by 2004, according to the
EIU. The difference, multiplied by 3.7% is US$154 million.)
15 The “Statement by the IMF Staff Mission in Zimbabwe” issued June 27,
2005 (IMF Press Release 05/151), lists “drought” first among the reasons
for the sharp decline in output in 2005.
16 Craig Richardson (2005), “The Loss of Property Rights and the Collapse
in Zimbabwe” mimeo.
17 Based on data from World Bank (2003), Africa Rainfall and
Temperature Evaluation System (ARTES). Data is for key maize-growing
regions (Mashonaland West in Zimbabwe, Eastern Region in Zambia and
Central region in Malawi).
18 Source: USDA (2005), Foreign Agr. Service, PSD Online db.
19 S. Power, “How to Kill a Country: Turning a breadbasket into a basket
case in ten easy steps—the Robert Mugabe way,Atlantic Monthly,
December 2003.
20 Robertson Economic Services, Harare.
21 Human Rights Watch, “Zimbabwe: Fast Track Land Reform In
Zimbabwe,” March 2002.
... For him, the "glorification of the nationalist leaders engineered a feeling of indispensability as well as irreplaceability" while the "elevation of the nationalist party above everything else generated rigid party loyalties and a preparedness to kill and be killed in defence of the party" (Ndlovu-Gatsheni 2003, p. 109;2012). Hence, Clemens and Moss (2005) note that the political violence that accompanied the fast-track land reform programme, beginning in 2000, gave birth to the economic crisis. The analyses of scholars who have located the genesis of the crisis in Zimbabwe as political is crucial for this study, as it informs it on not only the genesis of the crises, but also on the character of a political party that has governed Zimbabwe since 1980. ...
... Other scholars have analysed the crisis from an economic perspective (see Clemens and Moss 2005;Mlambo 2006;Bond 2007;Munangagwa 2009;Masiyandima and Edwards 2018). Scholars sharing this view have pointed out that Zimbabwe's economy has suffered from economic policy inconsistency, corruption, economic mismanagement, and the Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP) to mention but a few. ...
... This payment was seen as buying the loyalty and political support of war veterans in the subsequent elections. Apart from this, Clemens and Moss (2005), Mlambo (2006), as well as Besada and Moyo (2008), are in agreement that the negative international response to the crisis, which led to the withdrawal of donor funding, worsened the crisis and led to the devaluing of the Zimbabwean dollar (Besada and Moyo 2008). Analysing the genesis of the Zimbabwean crisis using an economic lens provides a different angle from which to understand the crisis, and underscores the links between political and economic policies and their consequences. ...
Article
Full-text available
The Zimbabwean crisis has been on-going since the year 2000. The various ecumenical bodies of the church in Zimbabwe have been voicing their concerns to the state through meetings and pastoral letters. While the church has been touted as a critical player in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, concerns about the church have been raised. One of these has been the issue of a divided organization that has failed to speak with one voice. With the coming into power of the so called ‘Second Republic’, hopes were raised that the state would be willing to have the crisis resolved. However, the crisis has just worsened, and the church has again been forced to break its silence. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the pastoral letter that was issued by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference on 14 August 2020, titled ‘The March is not Ended’, which sought to respond to the crisis in Zimbabwe. The paper seeks to establish what religious groups can achieve in the event that they set aside their differences for the common good in conflict situations. Data for the paper were gathered through the issued pastoral letter, as well as the responses to it on online media.
... This curtailed the possibility for Zimbabwe to borrow further resources and technical assistance from the institution (IMF 2003;IMF 2012). Additionally, the World Bank also suspended loans and programs to support the balance of payment of Zimbabwe since 2001 due to the government's failure to meet arrears (Clemens and Moss 2005;Gono 2006;Fowale 2010). ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents a comparative analysis of the impact of economic problems on education under the Rhodesian and Zimbabwean post-colonial governments. The analysis is based on human capital investment models, which illustrate how economic growth manifests under different socioeconomic conditions. Using a qualitative approach based on secondary data, the paper finds that Zimbabwe experienced economic problems during the UDI era and during the reign of Mugabe as its president. In particular, it emerges that the impact of economic sanctions during the Smith regime were relatively positive while the economy proved to be tumultuous during the Mugabe era. As such, the economic stress experienced by these regimes had contrasting effects on educational policies. The central argument of the paper is that education and knowledge are affected by the political economy of a country and they are instrumental in improving the economy, making it a bi-causal relationship.
Article
Full-text available
The research reviewed theoretical and empirical studies on hyperinflation, its effects on boarding school budgets, and adaptation strategies that may be employed by the schools. A critical analysis from prior studies displayed that vehement hyperinflation is a challenge and betrays the purpose of operational budgets in boarding schools. The purpose of operational budgets to play an exceptional role in cost control, planning, organizing, and communication at both national and local levels is rendered useless with hyperinflation. An analysis of the legal framework for education as provided for by the Zimbabwe Education Act and the education policies was also performed so as to have a clear understating of how the financial aspects of boarding schools are executed. The results from the studies reveal that hyperinflation has a great negative impact on the operations of boarding schools. It leads to the destruction of schools’ lineament, reduced enrolment, increased arrears, more bad debts, budget deficit, litigation, rising operational cost, and decreased capital investments. The research further discovered that in order to adapt to hyperinflation, boarding schools must be creative and innovative, perform cost reduction and control, adapt to differentiation, online services, cost leadership strategy as well as continuous reviewing of the financial aspects. The research noted that the boarding schools were not spared from the effects of hyperinflation and their only alternative in such disruptive times was to embrace the suggested strategies so as to survive in a hyperinflation environment.
Article
The notion that textual, verbal and visual representations of places are more or less accurate depictions of reality has been challenged by cultural geographers and discursive psychologists who regard language as constitutive rather than reflective. This paper builds on this work by demonstrating that constructions of Zimbabwe produced by UK residents from Zimbabwe during life history interviews in 2011 appropriated other representations; were action-orientated; had political consequences; and were orientated to the interactional context in which they were produced. More specifically, I show that the interviewees challenged the ‘narrative of the nation’ promoted by the ruling party and their supporters by producing intertextual constructions of Zimbabwe as a country in crisis; attributed blame for the crisis; and accounted for their presence in the UK.
Chapter
This chapter intends to have answer the questions: How did Ian Smith structure his government and economy and survive sanctions for sixteen years (1965-1979) and become innovative? Why, under almost similar conditions, did Robert Mugabe fail to bring the economy do its toes? In cases, what was the role of knowledge societies and what role did they play to bridge the gap between society and them towards meaningful development? The study uses desktop review as the basis of getting data and information useful in building this theoretical case study of Zimbabwe in the period 1965 to 2018. The robustness of an economy under a stringent economic environment is a function of its ability to tap and harness the prowess of its knowledge societies. It is recommended that strong links between the private, public, and knowledge sectors are required and this must happen in an environment with trust, transparency, accountability, rule of law, and commitment translating into a powerful connubio for transformation.
Article
Zimbabwe underwent a deep political and socioeconomic turmoil from the late 1990s into the 2000s. The magnitude of the crisis and its negative effects necessitated a prompt response from, particularly the regional community as well as through Zimbabwe’s bilateral allies. Yet the regional body, the Southern African Development Community, appeared unwilling to publicly criticize President Robert Mugabe for causing Zimbabwe’s meltdown. Similarly, Malawi refrained from openly reproaching President Mugabe’s government, a position which, it is argued herein, was largely informed by historical ties that exist between the two countries through labour migration and the incorporation of both territories in the Central African Federation in the mid-1950s. The resultant social, cultural, and economic links proved strong and hence made the criticism of Zimbabwe unlikely.
Article
Full-text available
What in the world happened to Zimbabwe? Although the country certainly had its share of difficulties during the first 25 years since independence in 1980, it largely dodged the famines, civil strife, and grossly mismanaged government policies so common in other sub- Saharan African countries. Through the 1980s, its annual real GDP growth averaged more than 5 percent, and, unlike other African coun- tries, agricultural yields were large enough to allow the country to export grain. In the following decade, economic growth slowed, and government policies were less than efficient, but Zimbabwe still man- aged to grow an average of 4.3 percent, in real terms.1 The govern- ment also offered free education and relatively good access to medical care. Population growth was slowing, and foreign direct investment increasing. With rich mineral assets, an educated workforce, and beautiful natural wonders, Zimbabwe appeared to have the best chance to be an African success story. However, in 2000 through 2003, the Zimbabwean government ini- tiated a land reform policy that involved forcibly taking over white- owned commercial farms, ostensibly to redistribute this property to landless blacks. The rationale for this policy was to redress the British seizure of fertile farmland in the late 1890s, which resulted in hun- dreds of thousands of blacks being pushed onto lower grade commu- nal lands. No compensation was paid to the commercial farmers, and hun- dreds of thousands of employed black farm workers were left without
Article
Full-text available
The last 10 years has seen an explosion in cross country econometric studies of growth, driven by two factors---new mathematical models of the growth process that lend themselves to econometric testing, and new data sets that make such testing possible. This paper looks at a selective review of these studies. It concludes that the results are disappointing in that no model has proven robust to trial by repeated regression. The paper suggests some reasons for this---including that the tested models tend to be ahistorical and over-simple in terms of their causal accounts. It concludes with possible lessons for econometric work in this area. Keyword(s): economic growth, theory, cross country regressions
Article
Empirical studies on child mortality at the disaggregated level-by social-economic group or geographic location—are more informative for designing health polices. Using Demographic and Health Survey data from over 60 low-income countries, this study (1) presents global patterns of the level and inequality in child mortality and (2) investigates the determinants of child mortality, both at the national level and separately for urban and rural areas. The global patterns of health outcomes reveal two interesting observations. First, as child mortality declines, the gap in mortality between the poor and the better-off widens. Second, while child mortality in rural areas is substantially higher than in urban areas, the reduction in child mortality is much slower in rural areas where the poor are concentrated. This suggests that health interventions implemented in the past decade may not have been as effective as intended in reaching the poor. The analysis on mortality determination shows that at the national level access to electricity, incomes, vaccination in the first year of birth, and public health expenditure significantly reduce child mortality. The electricity effect is large and independent of the income effect. While in urban areas, access to electricity is the only significant mortality determinant, in rural areas, vaccination in the first year of birth is the only significant factor.
Article
We estimate the effect of income on health using cross-country, time-series data on health (infant and child mortality and life expectancy) and income per capita. We use instrumental variables estimates using exogenous determinants of income growth to identify the pure income effect on health, isolated from reverse causation or incidental association. The long-run income elasticity of infant and child mortality in developing countries lies between -0.2 and -0.4. Using these estimates, we calculate that over a half a million child deaths in the developing world in 1990 alone can be attributed to the poor economic performance in the 1980s.
Article
We use cross-national data to examine the impact of both public spending on health and non-health factors (economic, educational, cultural) in determining child (under-5) and infant mortality. There are two striking findings. First, the impact of public spending on health is quite small, with a coefficient that is typically both numerically small and statistically insignificant at conventional levels. Independent variation in public spending explains less than one-seventh of 1% of the observed differences in mortality across countries. The estimates imply that for a developing country at average income levels the actual public spending per child death averted is $50,000-100,000. This stands in marked contrast to the typical range of estimates of the cost effectiveness of medical interventions to avert the largest causes of child mortality in developing countries, which is $10-4000. We outline three possible explanations for this divergence of the actual and apparent potential of public spending. Second, whereas health spending is not a powerful determinant of mortality, 95% of cross-national variation in mortality can be explained by a country's income per capita, inequality of income distribution, extent of female education, level of ethnic fragmentation, and predominant religion.
Britain's troubles with Mugabe
Britain's troubles with Mugabe, " BBC Online, April 3 2000; Mugabe interview with Sky News, May 24, 2004.
How to Kill a Country: Turning a breadbasket into a basket case in ten easy steps—the Robert Mugabe way Zimbabwe: Fast Track Land Reform In Zimbabwe
  • Power
Power, " How to Kill a Country: Turning a breadbasket into a basket case in ten easy steps—the Robert Mugabe way, " Atlantic Monthly, December 2003. 20 Robertson Economic Services, Harare. 21 Human Rights Watch, " Zimbabwe: Fast Track Land Reform In Zimbabwe, " March 2002.
The Loss of Property Rights and the Collapse in Zimbabwe " mimeo. 17 Based on data from World Bank Data is for key maize-growing regions (Mashonaland West in Zimbabwe, Eastern Region in Zambia and Central region in Malawi
  • Craig Richardson
Craig Richardson (2005), " The Loss of Property Rights and the Collapse in Zimbabwe " mimeo. 17 Based on data from World Bank (2003), Africa Rainfall and Temperature Evaluation System (ARTES). Data is for key maize-growing regions (Mashonaland West in Zimbabwe, Eastern Region in Zambia and Central region in Malawi).
For 1995-2005, we construct estimates based on Zimbabwe Country Reports from the EIU (various dates) and the UN's World Population Prospects: The
  • A Maddison
For 1950-2001, A. Maddison (2003) The World Economy: Historical Statistics (Paris: OECD). For 1995-2005, we construct estimates based on Zimbabwe Country Reports from the EIU (various dates) and the UN's World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision.
The standard error on their estimate
  • Summers Pritchett
Pritchett and Summers (1996), ibid. The standard error on their estimate, -0.13, implies that with 90% certainty the coefficient is between -0.064 and -0.496.